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Jan Engelen, Coöperatie Hoogstraten: “Our focus is on expansion of bell pepper area”

“Market for illuminated tomatoes under more pressure than last year”

The greenhouse vegetable supply of Coöperatie Hoogstraten currently consists primarily of illuminated tomatoes. “The illuminated season is under more pressure than last year, particularly for vine and beefsteak tomatoes,” says commercial manager Jan Engelen. The specialities are the exception to this. Of these, most have been secured by contracts, and these sales are going well.

Hoogstraten’s tomato area shows a rising line. Before the end of the year, another expansion of ten hectares is planned for some current growers. “The specialities in particular are a growth market. We can be very distinctive in this due to custom work towards the customer, and that’s bearing fruit,” Jan says. The import of tomatoes has a modest share for the cooperative. “In the days when there was no illuminated production, we imported more actively. Now it solely happens on customer request, and during times when we have less production ourselves.”

Cucumbers are a fairly small product group for Coöperatie Hoogstraten. “We still have two growers, and the remainder is supplemented by Dutch growers. Annually, we market about eight million cucumbers, and these sales are taken care of by BelOrta. It’s not our goal to expand our cucumber supply, last year wasn’t a good cucumber year either,” Jan says. The cooperative does have aubergines in their assortment for the first time this year, and the agreement has been made that BelOrta will sell these as well.

Coöperatie Hoogstraten’s bell pepper area will decrease by 15 hectares this year, primarily as a consequence of company cessations and switching to other productions, such as soft fruit and aubergines. “However, our focus is on expanding the bell pepper area in coming time again. In recent years, we grew considerably in packing bell peppers, and we want to continue that growth. It’s now expected that we’ll have to buy bell peppers from BelOrta or Dutch companies,” Jan says. The largest potential for expansion is mostly in the Netherlands. “In Belgium, locations with expansion opportunities are fairly limited. Besides, we’ll have several company cessations in Belgium in the coming years, mostly of companies that have become too small to grow tomatoes, but which are suitable to continue with soft fruit production.”

For more information:
Jan Engelen
Coöperatie Hoogstraten
Loenhoutseweg 59
Hoogstraten - Belgium
Tel: +32 3 3400233
Fax: +32 3 3147844

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